Terry Rood Announced As March Employee of the Month

Terry Rood, Rochester General Hospital Concierge

Rochester General Hospital Concierge, Terry Rood

Congratulations to Terry Rood, Rochester General Hospital Concierge, our March Employee of the Month. Terry has been a VPA employee since December of 2011. Throughout his time at VPA, Terry continuously goes above and beyond his job duties. We get compliments from patients, family members, visitors, and hospital employees on a monthly basis. Dave Maxim, Valet Manager of RGH, said that “Terry is always willing to wheel a patient to their appointment, escort a visitor to a room, and is always opening doors and greeting customers when not performing one of his many duties as concierge.”

In the past month we received two compliments forwarded from our client, one from an appreciative customer and another from a hospital nurse.  The nurse was thanking Terry for wheeling all of her patients outside on a snowy day and was grateful for the help on a cold day. The customer called Terry a gem and said that he “carefully, respectfully helps me get to my destination.” Great job Terry! You are very deserving of this award and are a positive ambassador for VPA and RGH!

Rochester General Hospital Valet Team Starts Valet Children’s Fund

Pictured (L to R) Teresa Schoell of RGH, Paul Muster, Louis Martinez, Josh Bovet, Mike Prosciak, Dave Maxim and Tabitha Preston of RGH

Pictured (L to R) Teresa Schoell of RGH, Paul Muster, Louis Martinez, Josh Bovet, Mike Prosciak, Dave Maxim and Tabitha Preston of RGH

You may have read about VPA’s Albany Medical Center team starting a Valet Children’s Fund. Dave Maxim, valet manager at Rochester General Hospital, and his team took the initative to get their own  fund started.  After pooling their tips they were able to raise $408 to donate to Rochester General’s Foundation’s Playthings for Pediatrics Fund.

With the money they donated, the hospital was able to purchase 2 Nintendo DSI, security cables with padlocks, and a bunch of downloadable content (the games are on the hard drive, so there are no game cartridges to lose or keep track of!)  Hospital employees were thrilled to receive the donation. The nursing manager sent an email to thank Dave and his team “David thank you to you and your team for this generous donation, it will provide hours of entertainment to our patients.  I will also be sharing this story on my Health/Care Board that is posted in the unit for next month.”

Great job to Dave, Ryan, and the RGH team for taking the initiative to start a Western NY Valet Children’s Fund. We can’t wait to hear about your future donations!

One of the patients enjoying the new DSI  donated by VPA’s Rochester General valet team

One of the patients enjoying the new DSI donated by VPA’s Rochester General valet team

Through the Ranks: Dustin Hildebrant

dustin hildebrant

Dustin recently came to our main office for some hands-on training.

Dustin Hildebrant has been with VPA since 2006.  Since the start of his employment, Dustin has played an instrumental role in many areas of the company. He assisted with the start up of a new account in the Bronx, NY and helped out in Rochester, NY. In 2009 Dustin was promoted and relocated to manage Vernon Downs. During his time at Vernon he continously scored 100% on his shop audits, he never had an at-fault accident at his account and often drove two hours to help out another account. In 2012 Dustin was promoted to also manage Tioga Downs.

We sat down with Dustin to ask him a few questions on his experience with VPA.

What has it been like transitioning from a small account to managing a much larger account?

Since transitioning to Tioga there has been a lot more scheduling, more cars to move and it is more challenging. I like the challenge and am learning more.  Every day it gets smoother. I am from Tioga so I get to be with my family and watch my nieces grow up. I am happy to be back home.

L to R: Security/EMT officer, Chris Hannan, with Dustin Hildebrant

L to R: Security/EMT officer, Chris Hannan, with Dustin Hildebrant

What has been the most memorable moment for you since working at VPA?

Winning employee of the month in September was a great acomplishment for me.

Dustin won this award for helping out during a more stressful situation. While managing, he was the first response to a man going through cardiac arrest.  When the Security/ EMT Officer arrived it was clear he was going to need help giving the man CPR.  Dustin was quick to offer his assistance. The Security Officer was more than grateful for Dustin’s help.  He wrote a letter to our President and Western NY Regional Manager to express his appreciation.  “I wanted you to know that Dustin’s help that day was invaluable and appreciated beyond words.” 

Right: HR Manager Mark Macero presenting Dustin with his Employee of the Month Award

Right: HR Manager Mark Macero presenting Dustin with his Employee of the Month Award

What do you like about working for VPA?

It’s a great company to work for, there is a lot of room for advancement whether you’re the bottom guy or the top guy. I love to be out outdoors. I am a people person, I love to talk to the older customers, they have good stories. Overall there are a lot of incentives in the company. There is a lot VPA does outside of just work. Many of the events we’ve gone to – boxing events, golf tournaments, concerts – are a blast.  The chance to do these things you don’t see from a lot of companies. That is one huge thing that this company does that separates us from other companies.

What have you learned since starting with VPA?

Dedication and hard work will move you through the ranks. I started as a valet attendant and then moved away and now am back managing two accounts. I am working towards advancing in the company. I am young so I have a lot of room to grow.

What advice would you give to new employees who are looking to be promoted within the company?

Keep your head up and smile constantly and you will be recognized.  Hard work stands out and they’re the ones that will be promoted and will have a strong future with VPA. If you work hard you won’t be stuck as a valet attendant or feel trapped.  The more we grow, the more accounts we get, the more managers and captains we can promote.

The Mountain Valet Experience

John D'Amico

John D’Amico

Valet Park of America’s sister company, Mountain Valet, provides valet service for some of the top ski resorts on the East Coast. To deliver the high level of service for a seasonal business, we send out some of our valet veterans to oversee the operation. VPA provides housing for the employees that work at the resorts. We talked to our manager John D’Amico to hear about what it’s like to work at the mountains. John has worked for VPA since 2007.  He has been a valuable member of our team at many our accounts including Albany Medical Center, Saratoga Racino and St Peter’s hospital.

During the winter season John heads out to Stratton Mountain Resort where he manages our valet operation. A typical day for him starts at 7:00 AM as he prepares for the 8:00 AM rush. During the 8 AM – 11 AM rush his team works hard to get the cars parked quickly and efficiently so mountain visitors can get to the slopes hassle free. At 11:00 AM we start breaks and get a plan together. If we don’t have as many cars as we thought, we send some staff skiing. If we’re busy, we all stay and make some great money. All the cars are out by 5:00 PM.

Staying at the house in VT is a fun experience for the guys working. They typically head out to a local restaurant or pub. After a long day working at the mountain setting up a fire and relaxing in the home is a great ending to the day.

Our house for the Stratton valet team in Wardsboro, VT

Our house for the Stratton valet team in Wardsboro, VT

Staying at the mountain, working at the base and getting some free skiing or riding in is a definite perk for John and his team.  Many of them enjoy the change of scenery and pace from the accounts they typically work at. The happy clientele at the mountain makes working at mountains fun.  Working at the mountains is a great way for the employees to earn some extra cash. Helping families avoid the long walk from remote parking lots, assisting with their skis, and talking about skiing/riding all day is very rewarding.

Pictured L to R: Garrett Brower, John D'Amico, Alec LePage, Mike Degregory and Brandon Nosal working at Stratton Mountain Resort

Pictured L to R: Garrett Brower, John D’Amico, Alec LePage, Mike Degregory and Brandon Nosal working at Stratton Mountain Resort

Since taking on a management role with VPA, John said that he has learned a lot. His leadership has strengthened in the past five years. He is now knowledgeable about delegating, employee relations and can smoothly handle a large volume of cars.

John is proud to lead a team where volume continues to increase year after year due to great customer service.  Delivering a good service that is reliable and welcoming is reflected in the amount of cars that come in.

Our house for the Killington valet team in Rochester, VT

Our house for the Killington valet team in Rochester, VT

When asked what advice he would give to new employees who are looking to be promoted, John had a few tips.  “Hard work stands out with management. Taking initiative to go above and beyond your job tasks will get you a long way.”

Valet parking will be available throughout the entire vacation week, February 16th-24th.  To learn more about Mountain Valet and the mountains we serve visit, http://www.mountainvalet.com.

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Year End Review

This past year brought on a lot of positive changes and growth for VPA! Join us as we reflect on some of our top 2012 moments!

VPA Implements Employee of the Month Program

employee of the month

2012 Winners:

February: Ryan Weser, Rochester NY, March: Matt Dell’Olio, UMass Medical Center, April: John Delago, Capital Region, May: Ricky Knorring, UMass Medical Center ER, June: Jon Clark, Lowell General Hospital, July: Mike Klinger, Albany Medical Center, September: Dustin Hildebrant, Vernon Downs, October: Yuriy Syromyatnk, Hartford Hospital and CCMC, November: Steve McGuinness, UMass Medical Center

To read their full stories check out our Facebook page!

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     VPA Featured in Business West

business westVPA was featured on the cover of Business West,  a premier business publication that discusses business trends, news and information in the Western MA region.  The issue that came out on Monday July 16th premieres a 4 page story on VPA.  The story gives a great insight into Valet Park of America’s past, present, and future.  It discusses the expansion our company has had in the past 20 plus years and what to expect from VPA in the future.

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Mike Arsenault Wins 2012 Howdy Award

Mike A-Mike Arsenault won the Howdy Award in the transportation category on May 15th at the Log Cabin.  The Howdy Award is presented by the Chamber of Commerce to a person who exemplifies excellence in hospitality.

Check out more of Mike’s story on our Moments That Matter page.

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Moments That Matter Award

Above L to R: Ricky Knorring and Micky Dumais tied  to win the Moments That Matter Award. Right: Our crew at the 2012 Six Flags trip.

Above L to R: Ricky Knorring and Micky Dumais tied to win the Moments That Matter Award.

To reward our top employees, we implemented a Moments That Matter Award.   All employees who attended our Labor Day picnic at Six Flags New Engalnd voted for their top pick.  Five nominees were in the running,  Mike Klinger, AMC Manager, Micky Dumais, UMMC Manager, Jon Clark, LGH Manager, Ricky Knorring, UMMC ER Captain, and Mike Arsenault, BMC Cancer Center Manager.  After tallying all the votes, we had two employees tie for first: Micky Dumais, UMMC Manager, and Ricky Knorring, UMMC ER Captain. The runners up won gift cards and both winners won iPads.

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Employees Buzz Off Their Hair To Raise Money For Pediatric Cancer

459842_477380678944630_232214616_o[1]On June 3rd Tim Duval, Nolan Skowera, Nick Schloesser, Kevin Black, Micky Dumais, and Mike Klinger buzzed off their hair for The One Mission Kid’s Cancer Buzz-Off.  The event  took place at Gillette Stadium and had over 450 people signed up to help this great cause.  Proceeds go to pediatric cancer patients and their families at Boston Children’s Hospital. Our team of managers were able to raise $2,552.25!

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Gabe along side our Albany Medical Center Team

Gabe along side our Albany Medical Center Team

Albany Medical Center Valet Team Suprises Young Patient

Our AMC team heard that one of the young patients was having his last chemo treatment. Our valet team made t-shirts to congratulate Gabe. He arrived with tears streaming down his face when he saw all the guys wearing shirts for him that said “Our Hero” and “Gabe’s Last Day of Treatment.” This truly was a heartwarming moment.

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VPA Launches New Brand

vpa_logo_FINAL

To bring us into a new era of growth, VPA partnered with a branding company to update our look.  In 2012 we launched a new logo, website and slogan, “Driving You Forward”. We also have been actively using our Facebook page, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Blog as a communication tool for our employees, customers and clients.

Check out our original brand launch blog post and website blog post.

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We are excited for another great year in 2013!

Through the Ranks: Mike Prosciak

Mike Prosciak is the Operations Manager in the Springfield office of Valet Park of America. He started here as a valet in the late 1990s while he was in college and left the company after he graduated to pursue a career in finance. About two years ago he returned to VPA when the need for an Operations Manager arose. Mike has a great perspective to work with in the operations department since he has experience working in the field as a valet. Recently, we sat down with Mike to get the scoop on how he was able to progress through the ranks at VPA.

What is your current job title, and what you do for the company now?

Currently my title is Operations Manager, which would be nailing down the day to day operations on the actual function of certain accounts, whether it be valet or transportation, and going out getting accounts. I wear many different hats. I also work in client relations, employee relations, and quality control. Every day is a much different day. You never know what to expect.

How did you get started at the company? Did you start as a valet?

Yes, back in the late 90s, myself and Brian Hiltpold, who now is the Regional Manager of the Capital Region in New York and Vermont, were working at the Delaney House in Holyoke, Massachusetts valeting for them. Then Ted Chagnon [Owner of Valet Park of America] came in and actually got that account, so we started working at the Delaney House for Ted and VPA. From that point on we kind of grew with the company. I went from doing that to weekend manager and going around and checking on various work sites.

So you were working at the Delaney House internally as a valet?

Exactly. They did all their valet in-house. Ted was trying to expand his business and collaborated with the owner of the Delaney House to outsource their valet service through VPA.

From the Delaney House, did you start working at other locations?

Yes, I didn’t just do the Delaney House. I was doing Private Parties, working at the Yankee Peddler, Hotel Northampton, and Baystate Medical Center. Obviously it was much smaller then, but primarily in Western Massachusetts is where we would work.

Then you started getting into sales?

Yes. I kind of slowly learned the business. I learned about the customer service aspect, and one thing led to another. I had a good rapport with the company and I wanted to grow with them, so that was the next natural progression.

Mike in his valet days directing traffic at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, MA.

After that, I finished college and I did leave for five or six years. Brian Hiltpold who is my good friend stayed working here the whole time. As I mentioned he’s now a regional manager. So I kind of had ties with VPA that way. I always knew what was going on with the company. I knew they were doing well. I came back to VPA and in May it’ll be two years. I ran into Ted and it was kind of meant to be. One thing led to another and I came in here for a couple interviews and he offered me a position. I was excited to come aboard because it’s a growing company, as everyone can see. Every month we’re getting new accounts, which is great. He basically brought me on board to help with the growth and expansion of the company.

So it’s good that you have that insider perspective from starting off at the valet level and now working as an operations manager.

Yeah. In most businesses when people start at the entry level and work their way up they get to know every aspect of the business. Those are the ones that are most successful. Having been in the company for such a long time I know the customer service, the back of the house, the front of the house… a little bit of everything.

Are there any big changes that you’ve seen the company go through during your time here, as far as expansion, etc.? 

When I left back in the early 2000s they were still growing. I think they had maybe 200 employees then, and when I started I want to say there were probably 60 employees. So there was a lot of growth then. But it was amazing to see that we’re all over the Northeast now, with over 500 employees. It’s nice to see that with the clients that we are getting now, a lot of it is referrals because they’ve used our service in other places. We pride ourselves on customer service, that being the number one thing that we focus on as a business. That’s what I like about working with this company. It’s nice to see that other people recognize that. I think that’s why we’re so successful with getting referrals and why we continue to grow.

What were some of the steps you took towards progressing within the company? Were there any situations where you took initiative that helped you move up into the sales aspect?

I was always willing to go the extra mile. I’ve always been a pretty outgoing person. I worked in the restaurant business when I was younger. It basically takes hard work and determination. I like to try to do the best I can and whatever project I’m working on I try to get it done the best I can and help the company succeed in all their goals as well as my own. Since I’ve been back I’ve also taken most of our Leadership Development Courses, which are great, not only for me but for the up and coming future leaders of VPA.

Mike going the extra mile while assisting a customer at the Log Cabin.

Have you had any memorable or rewarding experiences during your employment with VPA? Any accomplishments within the company that you’re especially proud of, as a valet or a manager?

Just getting customer letters and feedback from people. Rochester General Hospital for instance, going up there and opening that account and getting positive feedback from the people we work for up there. That in itself is a great gratification, just to see your hard work pay off. And for all the guys who work there as well, to know they’re doing such a good job. I appreciate that. I work hard, they’re working hard, and everybody’s happy.

What are some things you like about working for VPA?

Every day is different for the position I’m in. I’m always doing something different. Every day is a surprise. I feel like you never know what you’re going to get, which I like. The other great thing is the company culture, which is fantastic. Everyone gets along outside of work. They get together, go out, have fun. That’s a nice thing to have. I think for some people the last thing they want to do when they leave work is hang out with anyone they work with, and that’s not the way it is here. The other thing I like about it is I get to travel a lot, too. It’s nice because I’m not behind the desk every day. Some days I’m in Western New York or on Nantucket Island… It has its pluses.

Mike Prosciak with his wife Carrie, current Regional Manager Brian Hiltpold, current VP of Operations Tim Graney, and Tim’s wife, Sue at Cara Mia’s, circa 2001.

What advice would you give to a new employee who is looking to be promoted within the company?

To be in this industry you’ve got to be customer-service driven. If you don’t like being around people and talking with people maybe you should look in a different direction. It takes hard work and being friendly and outgoing. You’ll go places, not only here, but in life in general.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

It’s just been nice being back and seeing old faces. I’m excited about where the company is going and where we’re headed. I’m looking forward to being a part of that for years to come.

VPA Donates Shuttle Service To the D’Amour Cancer Center and Active Military

Pictured L to R: Marketing and Special Events Coordinator Lynn Jemilo, in the back President of Cancer Free Kids June Le Duc, in the front Director of Marketing Ally Montemagni, Shuttle Driver Alex Miklasiewicz and Shuttle Driver Marcel Dubois at the D’Amour Cancer Center lobby

Pictured L to R: Marketing and Special Events Coordinator Lynn Jemilo, in the back President of Cancer Free Kids June Le Duc, in the front Director of Marketing Ally Montemagni, Shuttle Driver Alex Miklasiewicz and Shuttle Driver Marcel Dubois at the D’Amour Cancer Center lobby

T’is the Season to Pay It Forward

This past week VPA donated Bright Nights shuttle service to the D’Amour Cancer Center, USO active military members and their family.  Shuttles loaded up from the Cancer Center lobby and Westover Air Reserve Base.  VPA staff handed out cookies, candy and warm beverages.  Many of the families had never visited Forest Park’s very own Winter Wonderland.  We were very happy for the opportunity to help out, especially for those family in need of some light during their holiday season.

We received comments and emails thanking us for our donationuso. One woman sent a comment through our website. “Bravo to your company for taking cancer patients to bright nights. Kudos to you and your staff. This is a huge part of what Christmas is all about.”

(l to r) Director of Marketing Ally Montemagni and Marketing and Special Events Coordinator Lynn Jemilo read to hand out cookies and drinks at the Cancer Center

(l to r) Director of Marketing Ally Montemagni and Marketing and Special Events Coordinator Lynn Jemilo ready to hand out cookies and drinks at the Cancer Center

From the VPA view it was very humbling and heartwarming. Everyone who helped make this happen was very grateful to be a part of this experience. Marketing and Special Events Coordinator, Lynn Jemilo, lead this project.  She stated “I am so thankful that I was part of the Bright Night Shuttles for D’Amour Cancer Center and the Pioneer Valley USO at Westover that Ted and Angie donated.  Just being at the events with fellow employees, offering refreshments to the families, while another was taking family photos or entertaining the children on the shuttle, was such a rewarding experience for me.  The gratitude displayed by the families, staff and volunteers was heartwarming.  I left each event with a very full and happy heart! Thank you to Ted and Angie for offering volunteer opportunities and promoting giving back to the communities throughout the VPA regions.”

Everyone had a great time and we are looking forward to helping out again in the future.